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The 2012 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics

Awarded January 5, 2012, at the 42nd Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics.

Margaret M. Murnane, University of Colorado

For pioneering contributions to ultrashort pulse generation with applications to molecular physics.


Margaret Murnane is a Fellow of JILA and a faculty member in Physics at the University of Colorado. She runs a joint, multi-disciplinary research group with her husband Prof. Henry Kapteyn. She received her B.S and M.S. degrees from University College Cork, Ireland, and her Ph.D. degree from UC Berkeley. She remained at Berkeley for one year as a postdoctoral fellow, before joining the faculty at Washington State University in 1990. In 1996, Professor Murnane moved to the University of Michigan, and in 1999 she moved to the University of Colorado.

Prof. Murnane, with her students and collaborators, uses coherent beams of laser and x-ray light to capture the fastest dynamics in molecules and materials at the nanoscale. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the AAAS. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006. She was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 2000.

Together with her husband Henry Kapteyn, she shares this Lamb Award, the 2009 Ahmed Zewail Award of the American Chemical Society, the 2010 Schawlow Prize of the American Physical Society, and the 2010 R. W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America. Henry and Margaret also started a laser company to transfer their basic research to industry. Margaret is very interested in increasing diversity in science and engineering.

Bio provided by Prof. Murnane, 2012.

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